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Vandamm and the Antarctic, Part 2


Vandamm scrapbook, Billy Rose Theatre DivisionVandamm scrapbook, Billy Rose Theatre DivisionThere is evidence that Commander Evans distributed autographed copies of portraits at his lectures, probably the Vandamm portrait. There is a description, here in the LPA collections, of attending his lecture and receiving an autographed portrait. Unfortunately, it is fictional, but…

Such an experience is detailed in descriptions of New York activities in Our Mutual Girl, a promotional magazine for fans of a film serial made by Mutual and distributed by Reliance Motion Picture Corp. in 1914 [MFLA (Reliance Motion Picture Corp.) 1914].

The films are lost, but the magazine is here in the Billy Rose Theatre Division. The major character, Margaret, was promoted as a real person doing enlightened young woman activities (philanthropy, shopping and getting kidnapped in each weekly episode), shot on location in real New York City. In order to bolster the "realism," author Jean Parke included short press squibs on Margaret's adventures between episodes. They read like gossip pages, but with classier activities. One such squib sent her to Evans' lecture, where she met him and received the photograph.

I would like to think that Parke attended the lecture and received an actual autographed Vandamm portrait. She may even have given it to her daughter, who grew up to become Broadway star Celeste Holm, who had her own large stash of Vandamm portraits and production shots.


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